Avenham Garden


Avenham Garden was a favourite destination for an evening stroll for diarist Thomas Bellingham in late 17th-century Preston. Hewitson sites it on the north side of Avenham Lane, between the present Bairstow Street and Avenham Road. This is the area of Lower Garden and Higher Garden on the above map which is based on Lang’s 1774 map of the town. Hewitson provides no support for his assertion. [1]

A more likely candidate is the field named South Garden on the map. This borders Avenham Walk which might already have been established when Bellingham was strolling there. This site supplies the celebrated vista across the valley of the Ribble south of Preston which Hewitson’s site would not offer.

It is unclear whether Avenham Walk had been constructed at this time. The first reference seems to be the record of its purchase by the corporation from Alderman Lemon in 1696. This document notes that it was already in use as a walk, but provides for its improvement with the planting of trees and the construction of a gravel drive. [2]

A copy of a 1690 marriage settlement refers to a house and gardens called Avenham Gardens house. This could well be the Avenham House on the above map. [3]

[1] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908), 4, http://archive.org/details/diaryofthomasbel00belluoft.
[2] Anthony Hewitson, History of Preston, reprint (Wakefield: S. R. Publishers, 1969), 237, 320.
[3] ‘DDX 900/139 (1) William Bushell of Preston, Esq. (2) Mary Molyneaux, Spinster, Daughter of Thomas…’, National Archives Discovery, n.d. c 1735, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/rd/b5678d26-0d2f-4051-932e-c18d37b6755b.